in my naivety I worked for a company very similar to the one you mention. While in its infancy it worked very well and deer were quite plentiful, but with the density of stalkers that it attracted it wasn't long before things went rapidly down hill..There seemed to be no limit of day permit stalkers and the syndicate members outgrew the ground..
I had on several occasions bumped into syndicate members while taking day permit stalkers out.At that time there were no risk assessments and no H&S in place..I quickly learned of the reputation this particular company was attracting and jumped ship.
I'm sure as with any company of this ilk that you only here of the bad experiences, and unfortunately mud sticks, even after 10years I still get the comment didn't you work for that B******D *********.
I have no doubt that shooting.sh has had many a satisfied customers,with many more to come.Your expectations of a syndicate member might not however be what you expect..
What you have to always bear in mind that most companies are in it for the money! and not the enjoyment of it..
Always ask how many members both syndicate or day permits, ask to look at the cull figures,do they have insurance? do they have a upto date risk assessment and do they work to H&S regulations..
Believe me there is nothing that empties your bowels more when another stalker tells you he saw you through his scope when he was stalking the same deer!
I have been in a few fishing syndicates, the ones which work well are the ones set up by/for members - where members elect the commitee, decide rules, prices, number of members etc. Their objective is quality of fishing and fair treatment. So they look after the water and the members.
The ones which dont work well are the ones which are run like a business. Timeshare stalking - there is competition and a conflict of interest between individual members, as well as between members and organisers. Ones set up like that have generating profit as the objective.
I have mentioned this on other threads, but here goes; if members of this site can get together and share what land they have between themselves as well as buying, leasing or getting for free land, this in my opinion is the way forward. This acts as a 'Co-operative of Stalkers' rather than a syndicate.
I have started such a group which I call the 'Traditional Deer Management' it is a Co-operative of SD site stalkers. At the present time we are doing very little, but this is down to work and family commitments. However the idea is there and we all regularly keep in touch. Add to this the fact that the various members of the Co-operative get invites from other SD members and Co-operatives and you have the desired effect.
Through this site we have groups and individuals that are able to help out on deer and environmental management or generally help out when fellow members need a hand. Without going on too much about this site, we have the ability to pool its member’s resources and put novices, experienced hobby stalkers and professional stalkers together in a very holistic way. I don't know of any group, site, professional body, syndicate that can make such a claim.
It’s all up to the individual members to expand on this, getting together at SD events, joining in with the debates and getting together with fellow members will and does pay off with dividends!
I think this cooperative is a wonderful idea and I am very interested. However I am not sure it would work with someone such as myself who does not have his their own land to share. I have only been stalking for 4 years and always with deer managers, I have not taken a DSC1 as I see this as a way of getting permission for your own bit of land and where I live on the Isle of Wight we have no deer population. Regular travelling to the mainland to perform a responsible deer management programme would became prohibitively expensive at nearly £50 to take a car on the ferry each time!
In my experience "syndicates" are not what they are supposed to be, they are usually someome trying to get cheap or free stalking for themselves at the expence of the other members.Points to look out for when thinking about a syndicate place are things like ,more members than there should be,taking quests out who turn out to be paying clients , unfair distribution of stalking days and grabbing the best periods.Watch out also for people taking members on to do work on the shoot and them dumping them at the end of the season or taking them on because there will be forestry operations ongoing, this is not just a rant but things that have happened to me.
I can very much sympathise with your situation, however let us look closely at how a Deer management co-operative can work. If you can link up with members of the site in the Hampshire area even without having any land you may still get some stalking. Of the five members in our syndicate only three have land yet we all get stalking. The thing is to stick your flag in the ground and say ‘Hi I’m Mack, I love anything to do with deer the countryside and shooting, who wants to be in my gang? Then other members of the site based in your area have a local link. You get together and form a co-operative. To start off with you may only be able to email, pm or phone each other. You will hopefully meet up and start setting out an agenda on how to get stalking.
Find yourselves a professional stalker and ask him if he can help you out. Offer to help him out on large scale culls gralloching and preparing deer carcasses, it’s all good practice and shows that you are prepared to graft for what you want.
You have now formed a small co-operative, you now have the ability to go and find land permission. You may decide to go and ask for land permission by yourself or as group. Some of your group may get stalking whilst others struggle, however what land you do get you must decide how to use it to benefit you’re group. For instance you may have got land by yourself but wish to allow your co-operative mates to stalk on it, you may have got some land and the co-operative have signed for it together. No problem but always make sure that at least one person takes responsibility for keeping an eye on the place, and liaising with the land owner. Make up business cards; pool your resources and qualifications.
At this point I draw on my Military experience, you have become a small unit of stalkers, decide what strengths the individuals in your group have and delegate out responsibilities. Start thinking about what you want, be careful not to make promises you cannot fulfil to land owners. Use the bigger co-operative to help you move forward, the bigger co-operative being the SD website. Link up with other co-operatives off the site, swap stalks, meet up at game fairs and SD events; always communicate and help out those members that are less fortunate than you.
Believe me it will come together. I am hoping that eventually this site will be an umbrella organisation for small co-operatives that will all work together communally to bring about high standards of deer welfare and set a good example to our stalking/deer managing peers. We are more flexible than the bigger organisations and have not got all the baggage to lug about. This will work, not just in Great Britain but we have the ability to work globally. Deer, boar and big game available to all, you just have to be prepared to work for it; nothing in life comes for free. Well this won’t be free but as close to free as we can make it.
I am in a syndicate at the moment in the new forest which next year is turning into paid days only, and is accompanied. I was referring more to getting private land permission for unaccompanied stalking.